The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered all Boeing 787 variants registered in the United States to undergo inspections of aircraft decompression panels after reports that some had torn. The Airworthiness Directive (AD) comes in a line of Boeing shortfalls that has seen a quality control problem at Boeing from the 737 Max, the 777X, and other 787 problems. In fact, Boeing stopped delivering new 787 Dreamliners as the company reinspected all the recently built but not delivered 787’s and overhauled its quality control inspection program. This resulted in a five month suspension in 787’s being delivered, with the first one being delivered after the suspension in March to United Airlines.
Other 787 problems include the vertical stabilizer, incorrect sized shims used in connecting portions of the fuselage together, cockpit window problems that could result in the window’s failure, tools and debris being left behind during the assembly of the aircraft, and the battery fire problem. Despite these setbacks, Airlines around the world continued to fly the airplane and Boeing continued to tout the revolutionary technology used to build it. In the United States, American Airlines and United Airlines fly the aircraft, additionally several large aircraft lessors based in the U.S. have 787’s leased out to foreign airlines that are also covered under the AD.
“Overall, Boeing used to be very focused on safety, but during the early 2000’s, the company lost its way and began focusing on profit and efficiency, gambling that potential or known problems either won’t show themselves or the cost of an individual event was cheaper than the cost to ensure higher safety build standards. That corporate mindset became the foundation when the 737 Max was designed and built. Now we are seeing the fruits of that with so many airplanes in the Boeing lineup having considerable airworthiness problems as compared to the past or compared to Boeing largest competitor Airbus, which has remained largely silent over Boeing’s struggle over the last couple years” says Vincent Cappoli, a former FAA inspector.